From the very first whistle, these in white proved too robust, too quick and too skillful because the All Blacks wilted underneath 80 minutes of intense, brutal England strain.
It was the primary time England had ever crushed New Zealand in a World Cup match, ending the All Blacks’ document 18-match successful streak within the competitors, a run stretching again to 2011.
The winner of Sunday’s second semifinal between Wales and South Africa awaits England within the closing.
“It is a large recreation, it is a World Cup semifinal in opposition to the All Blacks, the largest recreation you may get at this stage,” victorious captain Owen Farrell advised ITV. “We felt we ready properly and we began the sport properly.
“All these large video games, groups get bodily, they go at one another from the off. We knew that was coming our method and we needed to play that recreation, too.
“We have a variety of methods of taking part in; we have a giant highly effective pack they usually can use the ball as properly. It is good to get there (closing), it is good to be part of, we’ll get pleasure from this win first however we’ll be sure we put together for that.”
Too scorching to deal with
England’s blistering begin in Yokohama caught even the mighty All Blacks off guard.
When Manu Tuilagi went over to attain the primary strive after simply 90 seconds, choosing the ball out of the ruck and launching himself over the road, New Zealand had barely even touched the ball.
Anthony Watson’s highly effective run burst via a huddle of black shirts down the precise aspect and two phases later, England had labored the ball throughout to the left and again in the direction of the posts for an unstoppable Tuilagi to attain.
England’s efficiency contained in the opening 20 minutes was the polar reverse and, consider it or not, New Zealand regarded rattled.
As a number of had advised England earlier than going through the All Blacks this week: Play the boys, not the parable. It was recommendation these gamers have been heeding.
The cameras lower to New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen, whose face contorted with a pissed off grimace that summed up the All Blacks’ evening thus far.
Within the construct as much as this recreation, Hansen had warned his aspect of the “hungry animal” it might be going through right this moment and New Zealand was proving to be prepared prey.
England did briefly assume it had scored a second strive, as Sam Underhill discovered a spot within the All Blacks’ protection to attain underneath the posts, however referee Nigel Owen and the TMO deemed dummy runner, Sam Whitelock, had blocked off a tackler forward of the ball.
However as half-time approached, for all of England’s dominance in territory and possession, the lead was nonetheless simply seven factors.
George Ford did no less than prolong that to 10 factors with a penalty proper on the gong, gained after good work within the break down by Underhill and Tuilagi.
However despite the fact that this match was between the primary and second ranked groups on the planet, the latest head-to-heads between the 2 sides made for unhealthy studying for the English.
Since successful the World Cup in 2003, England had solely crushed New Zealand as soon as. That victory got here all the way in which again in 2012, with New Zealand successful all six encounters since then.
You bought the sense 10 factors could be removed from enough to ensure England a spot in subsequent Saturday’s closing.
However these in white had managed to do one thing no different staff had completed in opposition to New Zealand since Australia within the 1991 World Cup semifinal: stop the All Blacks from scoring a single level within the first half of a match.
England began the second interval because it did the primary, dominating and pinning New Zealand again into its personal 22.
That early strain advised inside 5 minutes, as Ben Youngs emerged from the maul with ball in hand, jinked his well past two All Blacks gamers and went over to attain the England’s second strive.
Or so he thought.
As soon as once more, the strive went to the TMO and, as soon as once more, he and on-field referee Nigel Owens determined that it wasn’t a strive.
This time the ball was adjudged to have been handed ahead within the maul — a controversial determination which left English supporters within the crowd shaking their heads.
England did no less than make its early sustained strain depend with one other Ford penalty, although it wasn’t completely the specified final result.
New Zealand comeback?
However simply as if England gave the impression to be squeezing the life out of New Zealand, it as an alternative supplied the All Blacks with a lifeline.
A botched lineout, fully overthrown, inside its personal 22 gifted Ardie Savea with the simplest of tries. Richie Mo’unga made the easy conversion and abruptly it was recreation on.
Nevertheless, the All Blacks had been uncharacteristically ill-disciplined all match and two additional errors gifted England one other two penalties, kicked by the impeccable Ford, and New Zealand now had simply 10 minutes to overturn a 19-7 deficit.
In reality, regardless of a few late breaks, Hansen’s aspect by no means regarded like troubling England’s strive line.
As Farrell stated, a World Cup semifinal in opposition to the All Blacks is as large because it will get, however chances are you’ll not have guessed it from the England gamers’ understated celebrations.
They know this may all be for nothing if they do not replicate the efficiency subsequent Saturday in the identical stadium in opposition to Six Nations rivals Wales or the mighty Springboks.
It will not be the way in which Hansen, who has been on the helm for 15 years and overseen two World Cup wins, can have needed to finish his tenure however he’ll nonetheless go down as New Zealand’s best coach.
“We have now to congratulate England, they performed an amazing recreation of footy and also you cant give them half a step as a result of they will take it, so properly completed to them,” a magnanimous Hansen advised ITV.
“I am actually pleased with our staff, they’ve completed an amazing job for his or her nation and tonight we simply weren’t adequate. We’ll need to take that on the chin, so will everyone again house.
“You noticed the boys on the finish, they have been nonetheless making an attempt their guts out and that is all you possibly can ask.”
Whereas New Zealand’s journey in Japan could also be over, England has the prospect to put in writing its closing wonderful chapter.